Church of San Nicolás de la Villa: Historical Introduction.
Fernando III the Saint founded two neighbourhoods under the name San Nicolás in our city after conquering it, one in the Villa and the other one in the Ajerquía. Unfortunately, the latter is not preserved, unlike the one we are going to talk about, of which we have had evidence since 1264, according to a letter from the Cathedral Chapter mentioning that date. However, this letter does not mention the building itself; therefore we need to wait until 1357 to find a document clearly certifying the existence of the church.
In the middle of the 14th century, the apse of the Church of San Nicolás de la Villa was built, although the side naves were erected along the rest of the century and, probably, the first years of the 15th century. However, the temple does not preserve its original design, as it has experienced numerous transformations throughout the time, such as the façade designed by Hernán Ruiz II around 1555 on the northern side, when the works in the Chapel of Baptism are thought to have finished. During the first third of the 18th century, the façade at the foot of the church was built, but only the rings of its rose window are preserved. Shortly afterwards, between 1771 and 1773, a crypt was built under the temple, which is nowadays used as a storeroom. Curiously, in the 70s of the last century, Brother Ricardo of Córdoba found there the image of a Virgin, completely forgotten, which was restored and blessed under the dedication of María Santísima de Gracia y Amparo (Holy Mary of Grace and Protection), and it is today one of the images of the Brotherhood of Sentence, whose procession goes along the streets of Córdoba in the evening of Holy Monday. From the 18th century, we can also mention the false Gothic groin vaults and the current flooring, as well as the marble skirting board of the steps of the Main Altar.
From the beginning, San Nicolás de la Villa was a neighbourhood where some of the higher classes in the city lived, such as Gonzalo Fernández of Córdoba, Gran Capitán (Great Captain). Unfortunately, none of these houses are preserved, unlike some of their names, which are reflected in some streets like Conde de Gondomar Street (Count of Gondomar). The growth of the city towards the west has caused this central neighbourhood to increase its relevance throughout the years, until becoming what it is today, the city’s shopping centre par excellence.
One of the most popular entrances to the neighbourhood was the Puerta Gallegos (Gate of the Galicians), a gate through which the Galician army entered with King Fernando III the Saint. Although it is not preserved, as it was destroyed in 1864, this area is still known by its old name. It is also interesting the Collegiate Church of San Hipólito, promoted by Alfonso XI, one of the main drivers of the process of fixing Castilian culture and language in Spain. He was buried in this church. From this ensemble we can highlight the Church of San Hipólito, which is currently in use and keeps its medieval structure to a great extent, except for the foot of the nave and the main façade, which were completely renewed in the 18th century.
If you wish to know the Fernandine Churches, do not hesitate to hire one of our guided tours. We will pay special attention to the Church of San Nicolás de la Villa. We are experts in the interpretation of the historical heritage from Córdoba. If you have chosen to do sightseeing in Córdoba, choose a high quality option, choose ArtenCórdoba.